Category Archives: Literary

An Illusion of Serenity

Life Drawing
“Life Drawing” by Robin Black is an intriguing and disquieting story of a couple struggling through the betrayals and intimacies that make up life.  Gus and Owen moved to the country to isolate themselves so Owen could write and Gus could paint.  As well, they were trying to distance themselves from the affair that Gus had and which continues to haunt them both. From the very start of the book we know that Owen has died and that is when Gus begins to relate the story of how it came to pass. Continue reading

Ghosts and Hidden Memories

The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit
“The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit”, by Graham Joyce is a spooky, ephemeral look and a pivotal summer in one young man’s life.  David Barwise is a college student who takes a summer job at a resort in a small beach town on the North Sea.  He was drawn to the town by a photo he found amongst his mother’s things, depicting him there with his father at the age of three. Continue reading

Stolen Youth

The Book Thief
“The Book Thief” my Markus Zusak was utterly captivating for me.  The story begins when Liesel Meminger is left in foster-care by her mother after the death of her brother.  It is 1939 Germany and Liesel’s father is missing and the family is on the run.  Liesel ends up in the care of the Hubermanns.  Mrs. Hubermann is abrasive and shrill; but Liesel finds a confidante in Mr. Hubermann.  Liesel is fascinated by books and when the opportunity presents itself she steals them. Continue reading

Voices for Change

The Invention of Wings
“The Invention of Wings”, by Sue Monk Kidd is based on real life abolitionist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimké.  The story spans several decades in pre-civil war Charleston, S.C.  The novel opens with Sarah receiving Handful, a negro slave, as a gift from her mother. Handful is to be Sarah’s personal slave.  Sarah is appalled and attempts to give her back or free her.  Her efforts are doomed to failure. Continue reading

Misery in Middle America

The Corrections
“The Corrections”, by Jonathan Franzen, is a saga that traces the trajectory of a middle-American family and how it ended up in the ragged condition it is in.  It’s a strangely compelling tale. Continue reading

A Clash with Nature

The Loop
Nicholas Evans’ “The Loop” is a novel that gripped me from the very beginning.  The opening chapter begins through the eyes of a wolf and paints a vivid picture of the land and the battle soon to be fought. Continue reading

Catastrophic Odds

Odds Against Tomorrow
Nathaniel Rich’s “Odds Against Tomorrow” starts out as a somewhat quirky story about a math nerd and becomes an apocalyptic thrill ride.  The writing is tight and pulls the reader into the novel.  Rich combines humor, scenes of devastation and a touch of romance in a perfect blend. Continue reading

Unexpected Romance

The Rosie Project
Graeme Simsion’s debut novel, “The Rosie Project” is a real treat.  The characters are quirky and endearing. The writing is crisp and wry.  I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book. Continue reading

A Family Torn

The Lowland
Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Lowland” is a story of two brothers who grew up outside of Calcutta during the tumultuous 1960’s.  Both of them studied hard and excelled.  Subhash, the older brother, was quiet and studious and chose to continue his scientific studies in Rhode Island.  Udayan, the more brash of the two, became a revolutionary.

When Udayan’s rebel activities end in tragedy Subhash returns to India to comfort his parents and to help Udayan’s widow, Gauri, who is with child.  The story continues on, tracing the lives of Subhash, Gauri and her daughter Bela and explaining what led to Udayan’s death. Continue reading

Family Secrets

Don't Tell Anyone
“Don’t Tell Anyone”, by Laurie Boris is a riveting novel that takes on some very tough subjects: breast cancer and assisted suicide.  Boris manages this adeptly in a story that is poignant and lingers with the reader long after the final page. Continue reading